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NP Chief Minister tells Mahanayake Federalism is not separatism
Published Date: 13/09/2017 (Wednesday)

By Cyril Wimalasurendre

‘We need a united country and not a unitary one’, said the Chief Minister, Northern Provincial Council C.V. Wigneswaran after calling on the prelate of the Asgiriya-headed Supreme Council of the Sangha on Sunday (10) afternoon.

Under unitary rule, the majority community had the supremacy and the minorities did not have the freedom of administration, the Chief Minister told the media.

Wigneswaan said, under the 13th amendment, the Provincial Councils had no freedom to act independently as the Central Government had controlling power, such as by the appointment of a Governor.

The best option was to confer federal status to provincial council regions. Not only the northern provincial council but also any other provincial council could be granted federal status. Federalism was not separatism, he said.

The NPC Chief Minister said he had a worthwhile discussion with the Maha Sangha of Asgiriya. But he could not accept all what the Sangha said.

However, it was a fruitful discussion which helped to understand the mentality of the Sangha of Asgiriya, Wigneswaran said, adding that understanding, thinking of the Sangha was important.

Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanaratana Mahanayake Thera and his Supreme Council of the Sangha had made arrangements to receive the Chief Minister in keeping with the custom at the historic Uposhathagaraya of the Asgiriya Vihare.

Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanaratna Thera told the Chief Minister that the prelate was able to understand the current situation in the north during his recent visit.

The prelate said that he could understand how the people of the north were attempting to make a living after having suffered due to a 30-year long war.

The people in general were worried over their hardships and economic difficulties rather than politics. The authorities and the political leadership of the province should give preference to improve the living conditions of the people rather than engage in controversial politics and political leadership, the prelate added.

Chief Minister Wigneswaran told the Sangha that in the past there was an excellent understanding among the Tamils, Sinhalese and other communities.

There were Tamil Buddhists in the north he said and Hindu Buddhists continued to have freedom of worship and putting up shrines of both religions. But, later, unfortunately, atrocities developed, he added.

Venerable Anamaduwe Sri Dhammadassi Anunyake Thera of Asgiriya said that much had to be done to improve the living conditions of the people of the north. Education and Public Administration had to be developed after the region regained normalcy, after a 30-year long war.

Venerable Wendaruwa Sri Upali Anunayake Thera and Secretary General of the chapter, Venerable Dr. Medagama Dhammananda Thera, emphasised that people of all parts of the country should live together in one country.

Women’s and Children’s Affairs Minister of the NPC, Anandi Shashidaran was present.

Source: The Island


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